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Pancreatic Cancer Incidence Rates

Pancreatic Cancer Incidence Rates

Using the CDC Wonder website, set the query criteria for pancreatic cancer for the United
States as illustrated below. Compare the rates by race for Wisconsin and Colorado. Discuss
possible biological, genetic, and environmental reasons for differences. What are potential
social determinants that contribute to the disparity presented between the two states?
Use this query upon entering the CDC Wonder website:
Select “Cancer Statistics” under the Wonder Systems tab
Select “Cancer Incidence 1999” 2013 and click “Data Request”
Organize table layout:
Group results by 1. States and 2. Race (leave the rest of the group options as “None”)
Measures – click “Count” (default) and Age Adjusted Rates
Select location – select “States” and “The United States”
Select year and demographics
Year – 2014
Sex – All genders
Age groups – All ages
Ethnicity – All ethnicities
Race – All races
Select cancers of interest – select “Pancreas”
Other options – keep default settings

Pancreatic Cancer Incidence Rates

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According to Scarton et al (2018), racial disparities in the incidence rates of pancreatic cancer
occur as a result of distinct risk factors that have led to the ranking of the chronic illness as the
third cause of cancer deaths across the world. In the United States, for instance, the incidence
rate of pancreatic cancer among African Americans is between 30 and 70 % higher than that of
other racial groups while the 5-year survival rate is approximately 5%. As such, some of the
biological, genetic, and environmental reasons cited for the disparities include the occurrence
and prevalence of conditions such as diabetes and obesity which are classified as potentially
predisposing factors to pancreatic cancer (Scarton et al. 2018). Most fundamentally, diabetes and
obesity have been identified as a common occurrence among African Americans as opposed to
other racial groups.
Moreover, biological reasons attributed to the disparities in pancreatic cancer incidence
rates across different racial groups include a significant decrease in zinc levels. African
Americans are associated with a higher genetically down-regulated zinc absorption, as compared
to other racial groups, which increases their susceptibility to the deficiency of the essential
mineral and hence the risk of pancreatic cancer. Similarly, numerous epidemiological studies
have pointed out the fact that there are racial differences, especially between African Americans
and Whites, in the DNA methylation level in various cancers (Scarton et al. 2018). Besides, there
are several susceptibility genes/loci for pancreatic cancer that have been identified in genome-
wide association studies (GWAS) and due to the variation in the prevalence of the risks of these
alleles across populations, they contribute to the disparity in the susceptibility of pancreatic
cancer (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). Similarly, other social determinants
that contribute to the disparities between the two states may include lifestyle choices and socio-
economic contributors such as tobacco use, diabetes, and obesity. These factors and contributors

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lead to significant differences in an individual’s access to health care services, behaviors and
treatment and social, as well as physical environments.


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Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, July 11). United States and Puerto Rico
Cancer Statistics, 1999-2013 Incidence Archive Results.
Scarton, L., Yoon, S., Oh, S., Agyare, E., Trevino, J., Han, B., Wilkie, D. (2018). Pancreatic
Cancer Related Health Disparities: A Commentary. Cancers, 10(7), 235.

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